We should have known right away that there was something odd about a Raven coal mine protest June 4 in downtown Courtenay.
A group of young protesters demonstrated “boisterously” as the Comox Valley RCMP described it outside the Bank of Montreal.
They banged on windows and doors at the bank, police said, adding that demonstrators yelled at staff and police. Some blocked traffic while others climbed onto the roof of the bank and hung a banner proclaiming: BMO Supports Coal. Stop the Mine!
Police said protesters frightened bank employees and members of the public.
These and other clues indicated this was an organized protest by as-yet-unidentified out-of-town agitators.
While dogged in their efforts to oppose the Raven underground coal mine proposed for the hills overlooking Baynes Sound, local protesters have been respectful with the exception of some remarks yelled at MP John Duncan during the 2011 Empire Days parade in Cumberland.
CoalWatch supporters are also not in the habit of wearing bandanas to conceal their identities, as some of the June 4 protesters did.
CoalWatch members live here, whereas people wearing bandanas — some of whom fled at the first sight of police — do not.
If these people were from CoalWatch, we would know where to send the bill to remove signs that were glued to buildings. CoalWatch Comox Valley president John Snyder said he didn’t even know about the protest.
Whoever they were, their actions could easily discredit local protesters.
Scaring bank employees, leaving literature strewn on the ground and causing a cleanup bill that RCMP estimate could run over $2,000 is not going to stop the coal mine or gain local support.
As well, family and friends of James Denton and supporters of the young offender accused of killing him could not have been impressed as they gathered outside the nearby courthouse preparing for the start of an emotional murder trial.